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>> rose: welcome to the program. it was inauguration day in washington: a day of parades, celebration, and the president's inaugural speech. for an assessment, we're joined by jodi kantor of the "new york times," al hunt of bloomberg, mark halperin of "time" and john dickerson of slate and cbs news. >> he talked about seneca falls, he talked about selma, he talked
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about stonewall. these the historical touchstones far president speaking to a new generation-- a generation he thinks gratified his vision of the world in this election in whh he did well with minorities and younger voters and so to the extent that his second election ratified the new obama coalition and the new shape of the electorate he so too hopes his second term will speak to that. >> rose: we conclude this evening with part one of a two-part conversation about the presidency of barack obama and the next four years joined by doris kearns goodwin, jon meacham, bob woodward, bob caro, and michael beschloss. >> i know it's the consensus that we're -- barack obama has to do is get along with the republicans. i'd like to say something about that. president obama is fond of quoting-- and if he isn't, i am-- martin luther king's statement "the moral arc of the universe bends slowly but it bends towards justice." in the first term, president obama did bend that moral arc. he got health insurance, peace
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of mind for more than 30 million people. the bill may be floored but it's passed. in the second term i see a sort of differently. everyone's attacking the moral arc of justice-- social security medicare everyone's saying we have to cut it bck. that's the great safety net for the american people. i almost see him as a defender. he has to defend social security and medicare in a fiscally responsible way. >> rose: inaugural day 2013, assessment by journalists and looking forward with historians when we continue.
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>> rose: today barack obama was sworn in for a second time as president of the united states. it was a cold and sunny day in washington. close to a million people came to the inauguration. they came to celebrate and see history. they included former presidents clinton and carter but not president george w. bush and george h.w. bush his father because of the latter's illness. supreme court justices were
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there as well as the parting cabinet members. the president took the oath of office for the second time having done it on sunday there a private ceremony then the inaugural address in which the president laid out his vision and his tae general da. >> my fellow americans, we are made for this moment and we will seize it so long as we seize it together! (applause) for we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. (cheers and applause) we believe that america's prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle-class. we, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths that all of us are created equal is the star that guides us still
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just as it guided our forebearers through seneca falls and selma and stonewall, just as it guided all those men and women-- sung and unsung-- who left footprints along this great mall to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone. to hear a king proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul of earth. (applause) it is now our generation's task too carry on what those pioneers began progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time but it does require us to act in our time. (applause) for now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay.
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we cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics or treat name calling as reasoned debate. we must act knowing that our work will be imperfect. (applause) let us of us now embrace with solemn duty an awesome joy what is our lasting birth right with common effort and common purpose with passion and dedication let us answer the call of history and carnto anncertain future that precious light of freedom. >> rose: joining me now from washington, d.c. al hunt of bloomberg, jodi kantor of the "new york times," john dickerson of "slate" and cbs news. here in new york, mark halperin of "time" magazine. al, let me start with you. before we talk about the speech, just talk about the ambience of
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this inauguration. >> these are wonderful weekends. this is a long weekend. whether it's republican or democrat people who come are in a great mood of celebration, they're walking the streets. i love inaugural weekends. i think they're fabulous. not as big as it was last time but i think it was -- in many ways i thought there would be a little of a down tick but just walking around the streets a bit today that didn't appear to be the case. of course all the fancy parties but there are a lot of just real people who don't go to fancy parties so i love this weekend. >> rose: john dickerson you were there for cbs with a front-row seat. what did it seem like for you? >> bright and early people were out there. long before the sun was up the president was walking down the parade t ute ey were 15 people deep. it was a nice antidote to what the rest of us were essentially saying which was talking about the fact that washington is stuck, that the drama and glory of his first inauguration is
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gone, that it's been -- you know it's a tough sledding period here in washington. that was not on the minds of people waving those flags so wildly. we were so far back that there's almost like different weather patterns in a crowd that size. you'd hear chants go up in one part then you would hear something else happen in another part. this wn't a crowd the size as big of this inauguration but it was still enormous, largest of any second inaugural and it was so large that the crowd closest to the speaker would respond and there would be a beat and back where we were you'd hear a response. so that gives you some sense of just how vast the grouping was of people who were there just to basically love the president which is not something he gets a lot of in the political to and from in washington. >> rose: jodi, you wrote an interesting piece in the "new york times" about how the obamas have both changed. you said describing him they used phrases like "more confident but more scared" "more
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isolated" "less hesitant about directing staffers whether butlers or highest leveled a visors, gratified by reelection which the obamas view as sweet vindication and bloodier minded when it comes to beating republicans." tell me how all thaw you learned about them factored into the speech you heard today? >> well i think my favorite word in that paragraph is bloodier minded because it's not a word we aociate witbarack obama and t it has become so true and fits with the very democratic ideological second inauguration speech we gave today. this is no longer the barack obama who calls for bipartisan healing, who wants to change the way washington works. he set out a very aggressive second term agenda. within a couple of minutes into the speech i saw somebody tweet "barack obama has talked about climate change more than he talked about it during the campaign."
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the question that lads us , of course, is how you pass that agenda when the republicans control the house. >> reporter: jon, you wrote a piece in "slate" that said some of the same things that the president maybe should be more bloody minded. >> that seems the logical conclusion. if you look at his ambition, he's not one who's just going to sit in the recliner for the second term. he wants to transform. he pushed for health care in his first term, advisors said let's go for something smaller, he said i want to make history. he's a man who wants to make history. we knew what he was going to talk about in his second term. these confrontational issues, climb change, immigration, gun control and he's also in these budget negotiations, is let's look at the debt limit for example. he said not only am i not going to negotiate, i'm not going to pick up the phone. he got some sort of positive
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biofeedback on that. in other words, he took a hard-line posture in those negotiations and the republicans essentially blinked. so all of that led me to the conclusion basically that the president is -- if he wants to be transformational he has to press his case hard and that's what he did in his inaugural address. >> rose: mark halperin, you're writing a book about the campaign of 2012. how do you see today's speech summing up the last four years and looking ahead? >> the biggest issue in the campaign was jobs. wasn't talked about very much. the big issues that were talked about and the big issues for the president so far is budget fights. the budget fights relate to jobs but it's not a direct connection either in terms of macroeconomics or in terms o the american people. john and jodi talked about three big issues the president talked about today the president himself clearly telegraphed which is gun control, an issue brought to the fore by the tragic events in connecticut. immigration and climate change, two issues the president talked about in the first campaign,
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talked about in the first term but didn't as jodi said talk about very much in the context of this reelect. jobs to me was the big issue missing today. >> rose: but he tied that into what he wants to do for the middle-class. that seems to be -- he talks about it but -- >> rose: he's expressing that. >> solutely. but the fundamental challenge for the country right now-- and we have many-- is jobs. not deficit reduction, though that's a big issue, too. it's not immigration, though that's a big issue. it's not climate change right now, although it's a big issue. and i was struck today by how little he talked about that. it's not supposed to be a programmatic speech. >> rose: al hunt in a piece you wrote for bloomberg you said "whatever the political limitationss historians say obama needs to think big starting with his second inaugural address. he has a chance to explain where america ought to be in ten or 20 years said h.w. brand of texas. he can rise above everyday
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politics and speak to history. lincoln did in the 1865, f.d.r. in 1937, now it's obama's chance." did he do that? >> yeah, i think he did it pretty well. this wasn't lincoln 1865 but we haven't had one since. the closest was roosevelt 1937. we're not likely to see that, charlie. i thought he did whatrand said he should do. i appreciate what mark is saying but i think this is not a programmatic speech. this is not a speech where you talk about here's my four-point jobs program. it's a speech about vision and i thought he gave a good sense of where he wanted the country to be i think it clearly was a progressive democratic speech. in f you read reagan's in 1985 it was a conservative republican speech. and a as for those who say -- i watched fox news who say he didn't offer olive branches or reach across the table to try to encourage birtisanship, i would note 16 years ago bill clinton in his second inaugural
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said that you have sent a democratic president and a republican congress back to washington, you didn't send us back to engage in bickering and partisanship. within a year they were impeaching him for lying about sex. so so much for the message that resonates on -- for bipartisanship on inaugural day. >> rose: here's what david brooks said. "it was the most unapologetically liberal speech we've heard barack obama give. it was really tracing american history and saying to keep faith to our ideals we have to change in a llective direction. we have to guarantee women equal income for the same work, he he mentioned gay rights and climate change and preserving medicare and social security. i thought it was laying down a liberal agenda." did you see it that way, mark? >> i think without a doubt, this was a progressive speech from a guy who has offered himself up sometimes as something more post-partisan. no doubt that almost every major progressive desire, vision o
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amica wa laid out i the spee. again, nothing surprising about what he believes. i thought the most surprising thing about the speech-- and it goes the point david brooks is making-- there's something surprising in it. there's nothing he said about these issues are important to him that was new or fresh or allowed us to see into his vision of how to move the country forward on them as opposed to simply saying "i am a progressive and these are the things i believe and i'll fight for." >> rose: how do you see this, john? this liberal agenda? >> i think that's right. also what was interesting is there was a little historical sleight of hand. i dot mean sneakiness i just mean clever writerlyness. when the president talked about history-- all presidents bring them into their inaugural adresses to add weight to whatever they're proposing-- in his first address he talked about gettysburg and concord and khe sanh. here he talked about seneca falls, stonewall. these the historical touchstones for a president speaking to a
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new generation. a generation he thinks ratified his vision of the world in this election in which he did well with minorities and younger voters to the extent that his second election ratified the new obama coalition and the new shape of the electorate he so, too, hopes his second term will speak to that. and i think that was an interesting part of this speech but if you're in a republican hearing this when he talks about collective action they hear big government, when he talks about investment they hear taxes and when he talks about takers which he did in the speech, that's a loaded word. it aims right at paul ryan who talked about takers versus makers, the takers being the one who receive federal benefits but pay noederal income tax. that's a shot. that's not just language that's slipped in. so that's the sense in which this had a combative -- there were a few barbs in this speech. >> one of the moments in the campaign when the president was office balance was when he said you didn't build it, talking about small business. that was one of the big themes
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of the speech saying you need collective action in order to get anything done. again, not new but laying down real markers act the fact that he's going to night the second term for a progressive vision based on those historical touchstones john mentioned and a program that is based on things that right now republins hav no interest worng wi him on. in terms of gun control and climate change, immigration and budget stuff different issue. >> jodi let me go back to your point in your piece about the "new york times" about where the president is today in his own mind. >> well, in some ways i feel that the real story of for president's first four years-- which is so hard to tell-- is how much he learned in washington. he did come to washington in 2009 without a lot of managerial experience, national security experience, economic experience, washington expienc he w still getting lost in the halls of the capitol when he ran for the presidency. what is very hard to see unless you're sitting with him in the oval office-- and maybe you
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can't even see it then-- is how much he's learned. he's had the ultimate washington education so we see two changes in him. one is the philosophical change we've been talking about. this is the president who didn't always say what he really thought in the first term. when there were terrible storms that leveled parts of missouri he flew down there and he gave consoling speeches in which he talked about thosetorms as acts god which really angered some of the climate advocates because they said how can you talk about this like an act of god when we believe that this is linked to climate change and we can do something about it? gun control. this is a president who did very little on gun control in his first term and within hours of the newtown shooting you could see how that changed. he came out and made that first statement and you said to yourself this is a president who's going to try to do something about gun control. the second questn isow much smarter he's gotten about the washington maneuvering.
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the white house did do a better job at playing out the recent series of debt and budget negotiations. the question is how that will translate. i mean, even if he's smart and maneuvers really well and capitalizes on everything he's learned how much of this can he actually get done in the next four years? >> rose: on that point, al, you say in your piece the president shows few signs of reaching out or broadening his horizons. if anything, capitol hill democrats say the inner circle is more clod. obama most recently at a news conference last week deprecate it is role of relationships in politics. he's dismissive of the notion that they would all be better if he would drink whiskey with lawmakers as lyndon johnson did. >> yeah, far guy who is so smart it really does puzzle me. perhaps jod city or john can answer as to why he just doesn't appreciate the fact that personal relationships matter in politics at every level always
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have going back to lincoln. look at spielberg's film. 2013 always will. he doesn't do it terribly well, maybe that's why he wants to suggest it doesn't matter. i agree with everything that jodi just said about some of the opportunities. i do think it's worrisome and not just a parochial matter. it's worrisome that they aren't bringing more people in not just because diversity of voices and views helps but some of these people are tired. some of these people-- particularly economic people-- they are spent, charlie. i wish there were -- you had this sense there was an infusion of fresh ideas and fresh blood. not to change views and change him but just to kind of bring more vital toy the tail rather than just get ready for the big fight. senator chuck schumer has a theory to go to al's point that he tells his colleagues which is that because president obama never had to climb the greasey poll pole of politics, didn't
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have to make his way up in the political world, he's had a kind of special path in life he doesn't know this benefit of relationship he didn't have to learn the hard way that relationips are what got you from the tiny city council race up into maybe the slightly higher race and that's one of the reasons. i think another thing in talking to white house aides about why the president doesn't believe in schmoozing, a, he believes -- he doesn't want to do it. it's not his cup of tea. but his view-- particularly on john boehner-- is that boehner cannot deliver a deal. he can do all the schmoozing he wants but when john boehner, the house speaker, goes back to his caucus they are driven and ruled by imperatives that are impervious to schmoozing and this that's basically their nstituents at home and therefore if boehner can't help him make a deal he has to find some other kind of leverage and that comes from the outside which is why in the inaugural address today the president talked about voters and said we have to do it not through our votes but our voices that's why
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he's organizing america for action, to try and build pressure from the outside that will somehow work on lawmakers. he's tried that before but they're recommitted it-to-it now that's given up on dealing with congress directly. >> if you took the 2001 most influeial peop in washington 2000 of them if you them in a room and ask them to chat about the topics, the president's lack of willingness to reach out to congress very much, his lack of feel for the importance of relationships, 2,000 of the people would agree republican, democrat, journalists, politicians, yeah, that's how that works. the one who would disagree is the president. and jodi zez said there's four years now and stuff to look at. i think we're done with this. i think the notion that this is going to change we can bury. >> rose: even though he said i may have an empty house soon, my caught thers are growing older. >> i thought that was a good way to get through the press conference. this is who he is and he's been
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remarkably successful and as john said, when he failed in things like getting boehner his attitude is "i did try, it didn't work so when i do it it doesn't necessarily work." the next four years i really would doubt he'll change one iota on this score. >> i would make a small distinction between schmoozing and whether he's willing toave a can pay wi people at night and what he chooses to do at 7:00 and the point that al made which is what people say about this administration now is that the area of promotion is line of sight promotion meaning that the president promotes people who are in front of him who he's closed to who he trusts. somebody from chicago said with me w wonder that the president has become mayor daley because he is becoming famous for having trusted lieutenants who he moved around from position to position. michelle obama objected to that when she worked in the mayor's office, she thought it was too
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insular and part of the appeal of barack obama circa 2007/2008 is that he had this kind of expansive quality. he brought in people like austan gools by and samantha power who were not the usual politicos who looked at the world differently. we see that less with the administration now. there seems to be a narrowing. >> rose: it's said that journalists have the first draft of history and historians have third, fourth, fifth drafts. when we come back, further conversation of the next four years of the obama administration two. we continue this evening with a conversation about the presidency of barack obama on the occasion of his second inauguration this time four years ago the world watched as the first african american was sworn in. it was an historic day. mr. obama came to the president in the midst of a global financial crisis and two wars. he has had to reshape america's role in the world, the boldness of his accomplishments-- health
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care reform-- has been divisive. in his first inaugural speech president obama promised a new vision for a troubled country. >> today i say to you that the challenges we face are real they are serious and they are many. they will not be met easily or in a short span of time but know this, america, they will be met! (cheers and applause) >> rose: four years later much work remains on major issues from climate change to immigration reform to the debate about taxes and spending and the most recent focus on gun control joining me to assess barack obama is a group of distinguished scholars and historians. from boston, dorr wince kearns goodwin, she won the pulitzer prize for her book called "no ordinary time." her latest biography "team of rivals" formed the basis for steven spielberg's movie "lincoln." she'll join us later. from nashville, jon meacham, he won a pulitzer prize for the biography of andrew jackson. from washington, d.c., pulitzer
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prize winning journalist bob woodward, his latest book is called "the price of politics." in new york, michael beschloss, the histian for nbcews a authorf ma books including "presidential courage: brave leaders and how they changed america." finally robert caro, the pulitzer prize winning author of the biography of lyndon johnson. the most recent biography is called "the passage of power." i'm pleased to have all of them here as we broadcast on this inauguration day as we talk about the second term of president barack obama. i begin with robert caro. what is the challenge for presidents in a second term? >> challenge but a great opportunity when you're in the second term you have nothin mo to run for,no more elections. so what you're running for a place in history and you know if you do a great job you will have a great place in history. >> rose: and you never know what's coming though, as vietnam -- >> oh, it -- as i write now, the last line about lyndon johnson, when his second term starts with
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passing medicare, voting rights act, civil rights act just on the triumph of getting social welfare legislation through and here comes vietnam in 1965 overshadowing it all and everything turns and as you're listening to the tapes of these conversations and you hear the despair in his -- the growing despair in his voice as vietnam comes to overshadow everything he wanted to do and that he wanted to started to do in the second term. you see how a second term can go really bad. >> rose: what did he say "that bitch of a war stole --" >> the woman i love, the great society. >> rose: the challenge for a second term? >> well, the challenge i think often times is that a president who's had great reelections suddenly finds he has less power than he thought he had. franklin park zoo in -- franklin roosevelt in 1937, more democratic congress than in any
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time of the century suddenly realize that the supreme court can keep on overruling the things he gets passed through congress so he tries to pack the supreme court, slapped down, bad second term. in nixon's case-- and i think bob woodward can speak on this, too-- at the beginning of his time he had both houses of congress in democratic hands. he was turning to something called impoundment saying i'm just not going to spend the money for these bills, these acts, these agencies that democrats are voting for in the house and senate and even in the absence of watergate it's possible that that could have gone to impeachment. >> rose: jon meacham in nashville, thomas jonathan van everyson after a successful first term in which the louisiana purchase was dominant he goes into the second term and what happens? >> well his second inaugural address is largely an attack on the press so he set a tone there. every subsequent president has wanted to do that, may not have pulled it off. he ran into the possibility of
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war with great britain and imposed what many historians believed to be-- beginning with henry adams-- a disastrous economic embargo that expanded the power of the presidency in ways that would have made the -- a younger thomas jefferson's head explode. the president literally had the power to decide which ships left the country and which didn't as he bought time to try to prepare for war. so he is one of the classic examples where a president in the a second term ran into trouble. i think part of that is a simple mathematical fact which is with four more years and a job of ultimate power and ultimate responsibility you have that much longer for the unexpected, the surprising and the difficult to overtake you. to my mind the president who bucks that trend and doesn't get credit for it is ronald reagan. we tend to think of reagan and iran-contra as the second term. it's also true that he didn't go
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to geneva this until 1985 and the man who managed to push the cold war toward it then did so largely in that second term. >> rose: bill clinton also i guess you could say got welfare reform in the second term, did he not? >> actually, it was before the election in 1996 and he created his own problems as we know and that's one of the grat tragedies of modern american history is this enormous man, the best politician since lyndon johnson to hold the office who ran into the impeachment issue and ended up squandering at least a year and a half, two years. so -- and i think the other -- the most recent example i think by pretty common consent, president bush did better after what he called his thumping in 2006 when he finally fired donald rumsfeld, brought in bob gates and began to move to
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slightly more of a center position before the economy collapsed. >> rose: so what's the challenge for president obama in the second term? >> it's mense, brendan sullivan one of the great defense lawyers here in washington always says when you're in a negotiation and you have the upper hand as obama has had in the first term and may continue in the second term, when you have that upper hand and you beat your opponent you need to let them leave the field with dignity. and that is not obama's style. if you google "obama rebukes republicans" it goes on and on andn. he is always going after the people -- his beating. just a tactically i think that's a mistake and hopefully it will change. on the foreign affairs front if you talk to the intelligence
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people they say that the world is increasingly dangerous, you have meltdown situations potential meltdown situations not just in syria and the middle east, pakistan, north korea whh hashe bomben like iran and that is just ticking away. there's the egypt problem, there's what's going on recently in algeria and so forth. so i think the theme here for president obama is going to have to be i need to smoke the peace pipe domestically in this country with the political opposition and i need to work and develop friendships abroad and develop some overall strategy for dealing with this very dangerous lull. >> rose: just drill down on that temperament for the president who had an overwhelming electoral victory. >> i think franklin roosevelt
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would have disagreed. he said the election of 1936 was a great landslide and gave him the opportunity to define his opposition during that campaign. he said they're unanimous in their hate for me and i welcome their hatred, the economic royalists. so i think what roosevelt would have said on the other side would have been if you begin to define them before americans reach their own conclusion that can be a big weapon especially for a second term president who is going to encounter these institutional constraints. >> if i may, charlie, in this environment i think that president needs to learn to manage the opposition in a creative way and use them for his purposes and all of these negotiations that go on in the end you have to learn that the person on the other side of the table is your friend because that's the bhosh can give you what you need and that's not what's happening in the endless
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negotiations, not just with congress but in the world. >> rose: and i think you can actually do both of those things. there's this wonderful scene in i think it was the summer of 1974 when gerald ford became president he played golf with his old friend tip o'neill, his counterpart democratic leader of the house and at the end of the game o'neil said to ford "isn't this great, gerry? here we are having a nice game of golf and two weeks from now we'll be denouncing each other and beating each other's brains out." (lauter) >> rose: let me go to a perfect example of what we're talking about on the side of some kind of comedy, dirkson. >> rose: well, johnson in the second term and johnson in the first term he knew dirkson was the key. >> rose: civil rights legislation. >> civil rights legislation. medicare, all legislation. johnson saw that he didn't have enough democratic votes because the southern democrats were against him, as they had been against roosevelt and truman before him. he needed votes from some place
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else and he saw the place to get them was the republicans and the man to give them was dirkson. but if i can say, i know it's the consensus that barack obama has to do is get along with the republicans. i'd like to say something about that. president obama is fond of quoting-- and if he isn't, i am-- martin luther king's statement "the moral arc of the universe bends slowly but it bends towards justice." in the first term, president obama did bend that moral arc. he got health insurance, peace of mind for more than 30 million people. the bill may be flawed but it's passed. in the second term i see it as sort of differently. everyone's attacking the moral arc of justice, social security, medicare, everyone's saying we have to cut it back. that's the great safety net for the american people. i almost see him as a defender. he has to defend social security and medicare in a fiscally responsible way, bring in the in a fiscally responsible way but defend it. >> rose: but reform is almost
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universally suggested as necessary on the entitlements question and their means to get at that question without suggesting that you are somehow opposed to the intent and purpose of those entitlements. >> rose: and that's the real problem just the way you -- that's the way you pose it. to make the american people understand that when people talk about government as an evil, government is social security, golf -- can we even imagine, remember and conceive what it was like when you were old and you didn't have any income? you were laid off by your company? there wasn't a social security check? when you were old and couldn't afford medical insurance? what did you do? we can't even imagine that now because we have medicare. it's a real -- you pose the problem exactly right. how can we protect these things and reform it and get rid of the
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excesses but defend the basic principle? >> it's not just a matter of defending it-- and i think bob caro is right that obama feels very strongly about this, he's the champion of the safety net d hehou be but even he when i talked to him some months ago he said that spending on these entitlement programs is untenable and he and all the economists know and you get to a point where you either fix it and fixing it means you're going to have to find some savings in it that there's going to be less benefits given the number of people who are coming on these programs. obama realizes that and he's just -- he's got to find a way to work some deals. he needs to -- he needs the republicans. the simple fact is-- and michael
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beschloss is an expert on this issue-- the president has to rally the country. not just his own party or series of interest groups and rallying the country at this time with the media that operates 24/7 mean you've got to find some way to include the -- in the case of obama the 60 million people who voted for mitt romney. and there needs to be a strategy in the strategy of sticking your finger in these people -- in his eye all the time i don't think will work. >> and that's one reason why an inaugural address for a second term is so important. here we are inauguration day. you have a president who probably is addressing the biggest audience he will ever have for the rest of his life. it's one of the few opportunities the president has these days given the media cacophony that bob is talking about. >> rose: doris kearns joins us
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from boston. we are taping this on friday in anticipation of the inaugural address on monday and looking at the analysis of what has the not do. from all the second terms of all the presidents that you have known what's the most important lesson that comes out of that. >> i think i'd go back to what bob caro said because i could hear and i think being able to make the country understand that he is framing a debate on the importance of government. that was partly what this whole election was about. i agree there's no part in not giving dignity to the opposition but right now i think he has to play an outside game as well as an inside game. he has to bring the characters to the white house, spend time with the democrats and republicans but the only way i think he's going to have a strategy to move things in the house and the senate is to make the country itself pressure from the outside in. that's when teddy roosevelt had to do because he had a republican party that wouldn't do his bidding so he got the
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press and public to push them from the outside in. that's what his second term has to do and it's different from the way he did hit in the first term. he tried the consensus route. it doesn't mean you won't reach it ultimately but to have your people pushing in your idea of what you want to happen be the country's idea. you have to provide a story for the country. >> i wanted to show you this conversation i had with the president last summer about what he considers the mistakes of his first term. here it is. >> when i think about what we've done well and what we haven't done well the mistake of my first couple of years was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. and that's important. but the nature of this office is
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also to tell a story to the american people that gives them a sensef unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times? when i ran everybody said "well, he can give a great speech but can he actually manage the job?" and then my first two years i think the notion was well, you know, he's been juggling and managing a lot of stuff but where's the story that tells us where he's going?" and i think that was a legitimate criticism. so getting out of this town, is spending more time with the american people, listening to emnd also then being in a conversation with them about where do we go together as a country i need to do a better job than that in my second term. >> rose: are these the skills that he has? the skills to build on a
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narrative having to do with the role of government and the responsibility of the president? having to do with the ability to govern? >> oh, i think so. if you wake him up in the middle of the night and ask him what he is besides the president he will say he's a writer. wrote two memoirs before he was 44 i think. so he totally thinks in terms of narrative. he thinks in terms of character driven drama and i think he makes a very good point about having flipped the expectations the. i think it was president clinton pretheir man crush who said that he can -- the bromance back when they were still somewhat at odds who said he can give a pretty speech but can he do anything else? what obama has proven-- and i throw this out to everybody to see if there's a counter example-- is that the greatest president-- and i would argue f.d.r., johnson, reagan, jackson
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i think jefferson were people who could both project a vision that made present pain and sacrifice seem an investment in beater country, tomorrow, future and who had the legislative skills, the mechanical skills to cut deals and get it done. doris' lincoln is the great example of that. the great presidents can do both and i think the president has proven oddly that he's pretty good at both but he hasn't brought them together in the same moment. and that's the challenge going forward. >> i would agree completely and the other thing is that the president has been plagued by this reputation of his as an orator that comes from 2004. >> rose: primarily answer prags >> absolutely. if you look at the first inaugural address i don't think it was one of his best efforts, it was almost as if he was pulling his punches to show that he was not just someone who gave speeches. and there was a little bit of a threat i think throughout the first term.
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this time i think he won't feel so inhibited. >> there's a curiosity about president obama in that as a president who -- as f.d.r. mastered the radio, kennedy and reagan mastered television, obama as a pam painer mastered the internet but not as a figure of government. interestingly it's very hard to think of obama soundbites, which sounds dismissive. but the only thing we have to fear but fear itself is a soundbite. tear down this wall is a soundbite. i think there's a curiosity is n that he is kind of like jefferson in that his -- he communicates best in paragraphs, in written form. is he's interestingly kind of a 19th century -- early 19th century president governing in the 20 the 2-1st century. that's another gap he has to bring. >> and the irony of that -- >> i think that's a good point of view. and if i could continue i think what's so interesting is in the 19th century the speeching obama has printed would be read in
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full. and when row read his speeches they sometimes read better than when they sounded because what you get in the television is just a poster. you get that short hand which isn't often there but i think charlie the most important thing about the interview he gave with you is if a president is self-aware, if they can reflect on what went wrong and right in the first term then the second term offers amazing opportunities because nobody can be president until you're president. you can never learn what you haven't done right and i think to some extent it kept him in washington and he knows he needs to get out of it more because part of communicating well with the american public is feeling them. that's what f.d.r. was good at. he knew what people were feeling and thinking. lincoln has those public opinion bouts every morning where he met with people who came to talk to him. he had receptions at night where he met with backwoodsman. the white house is more of a bubble and the fact that he sees he needs to get out more and
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connect more, he needs that energy more that will inform the way he speaks to the public because then they're in his head not just the tell prompter of a written word. >> rose: are we disagreeing with what b said in terms of making the point that you have to be -- you can do that and reach to explain your case and explain your vision and be able to tell your narrative but you don't necessarily to go out of your way to attack the other guy on a consistent basis or in fact have harry reid or nancy pelosi come out and attack them all the time if you're trying to get something done that demands an agreement with the other side. bob? >> first of all, charlie, one thing you have to is president obama does not control harry reid or nancy pelosi they are more than anxious -- >> despite how he might wish. >> yeah, in willing to come out and attack republicans on their own spontaneously and with
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sincere conviction. >> rose: do you think that's helpful? >> no, i think it doesn't work and i think he's got a real problem with that. but i think of very interesting question here is what are his frustrations in the job and it's alwa harto get goodata on that but i think one of his frustrations is in the first term he inherited that financial crisis and he did a good job. we now have an economy not just on the verge of stability but on the verge of takeoff and you never get credit as president for what you kept from happening which would have been a depression and he knows he spent so much energy on that sand he knows in the midst ofit he got health care reform and that's kind of the negative to lots of people also.
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he goes in with some frustrations that are real and he articulates to his staff. >> let me go to lyndon johnson because i can remember people saying at the time of johnson that if they let him be himself-- doris you can jump in on this-- and let him have that sort of overwhelming personality that he would have been better off because he's seems unreal in his relationship to public. >> he's stilted on television but when you hear him on his tapes it's unbelievable. in this last book "the passage of power" he's losing eight to seven in the senate finance committee, he calls -- he needs three votes, he changes three votes in 11 minutes. and when you hear his voice, he says "i need your vote." rip kov says "i can't give it to you, i promised my constituents i'd go thether way." ribicoff. lyndon johnson says-- and you
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have to hear his voice-- "you save my face today i'll save your face tomorrow." (laughter) and ribicoff knows what he's dealing with. johnson in person is so overwhelming. johnson said with what everyone else was saying. lyndon johnson said about civil rights we've talked about it far hundred years, it's time to write about hit in the books of law. the job of the president-- and obama has done this magnificently-- to make america feel its greatness, its ideals to arouse our idealism. it's also the job of a president to write it in the books of law, to get actual legislation passed. that's what a nation is governed by and the second term in my mind is going to hinge on what is written in the books of law. >> rose: two things, one is that there's no question that l.b.j. is the most formidable political human figure i've ever met and if we had only known that person
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that bob caro knows through his research that i was lucky enough to know when i was 24 years old i think the country would have been felt differently there was one moment that he spoke to a bunch of reporters and he was himself and he never did that again. the teleprompter was a girdle on him. to go back to what bob woodward said, we can't forget that the republicans have attacked the democrats and obama even more fiercely than he's attacked them so it's not like he's out there saying these mean things about them. he's responding to a republican party that at one point said the most important thing they had to do was get rid of him after four years. so i agree he has to rise above that and deal with him and you want to make deals when you're there but the political culture in which he's had to work in these last four years may have been the most difficult political culture than any president has had in a lock period of time. >> the president needs to maintain his moral authority over all of these things that we're talking about and if he is
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in this kind of food fight with with the opposition-- and doris is right, the republicans are often bitter and more nasty in their attacks on him-- but he's the president. he's got the a shares here and he needs to find a way because fb though there's a strident talk in politics in this country you go out and talk to people and it's astounding the number of people who were actually moderates and in the middle and those are the people the president needs to bring to him and you do that, i think, by not attacking the opposition in the way he does. >> rose: jon meacham? >> i would just say qukly to bob woodward's point that's true it's also true that andrew jackson, who was an enormously successful president, created the modern office that lincoln drew on said his only regrets in public life were that he had not shot john c. calhoun and hung
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henry clay. (laughter) so people like a fighter. and to go to bob caro's point -- >> rose: before we go i want to make sure i understand what you're suggesting obama should do. >> people like a fighter. people liked it when f.d.r. said -- as michael just said, i welcome their hatred. they like people who go out there and try to sell it. but one point about the broader culture particularly at inauguration time to go to bob caro's point absolutely lyndon johnson with the help of richard goodwin found the way to articulate the aspiration and finish the work, the unfinished work in the founting of the civil war in terms of race. lyndon johnson was doing that as a lawmaker and law giver after martin luther king and -- let a movement in birmingham and montgomery and other places.
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he passed the voting rights act after jose ya williams and john lewis were almost beaten to death at the pettis bridge. presidents who react to events with the spirit of leadership are going to be the most success so i don't think -- we can't isolate presidential leadership from what will be going on in the country. >> all true. and we honor president johnson because after the violence at selma he used the moment when americans were so outraged to go to congress and say let's have a voting rights act with the help of doris' husband who helped to write enormously powerful speech. but at the same time barack obama did not need to go intensely after gun control. after newtown he did. that's the difference. >> rose: i'm not sure i understand the difference. why isn't it the same? >> it's a difference from presidents who are inactive. >> rose: oh, i see. >> i would argue newtown was the
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closest thing to selma that we've had. and i think that that shows that this could be a strong second term. >> bob, what are the agenda items for the president beyond immigration? what else? >> i mean, this often happens to presidents who focus on the domestic agenda that something happens in the world that drags him into something he didn't anticipate and want. so i think -- i think if you look overall at the first term on the foreign affairs front he's done a really good job of managing all of that chaos and uncertainty and he has been both the hawk and the dove and i think there are few people in the world who think he won't crack him if he decides it's necessary. in other words, he will use the
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military in some way. so what -- i think the healing thing is the issue here. people who are going to listen to him are going to say you know what? he's reaching out. one of the critiques even of his biggest supporters is that there's an arrogance and overself-confidence that comes through not just in the white house or dealings with congress but on the stump and i think he's got a little humility, a little bit of those sugstin he get out into the country and say i understand the voices of real people and i'm tuning into that and i'm going to act on that and certainly the gun control agenda is one that i think has wide appeal particularly to the moderate sensibility which i maintain still exists in this country.
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>> rose: that was part one of our conversation with with historians, part two tomorrow night.
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Charlie Rose
PBS January 21, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am PST

News/Business. Michael Beschloss, Robert Caro, Doris Kearns Goodwin. (2013) Michael Beschloss, Robert Caro, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Bob Woodward and Jon Meacham discuss President Barack Obama's inauguration. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Washington 17, Lyndon Johnson 9, Johnson 8, Us 8, America 7, Charlie 5, Bob Woodward 5, Bob Caro 5, Jon Meacham 4, Selma 4, Mark Halperin 3, Boehner 3, Doris 3, John Dickerson 3, Barack Obama 3, Michael Beschloss 3, Martin Luther King 3, Vietnam 3, Robert Caro 2, D.c. 2
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